Implants, Expanders, Tattoos, Oh My!

After I made my decision to have a single versus a double mastectomy, it was finally time to visit the plastic surgeon.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect and felt really awkward sitting in the waiting room.  I was not “well endowed” and, although sometimes I wished I had a little more up top, I had long ago come to the conclusion that this is how God made me – who was I to mess with that?  Well, thanks to the big “C”, I had no choice now, did I? Actually, that’s not entirely accurate – I did have a few choices.  I could choose not to have any reconstruction and use inserts in my bra to even myself out, or I could have reconstructive surgery with breast implants.  I decided pretty easily that I wanted reconstruction.  Until then, I had resisted the urge to google mastectomies and breast reconstruction because, frankly, I was terrified of what I would find out.  I had all these crazy ideas of how they would remove my breast and what I would – or would not – be left with. So, the first visit was pretty overwhelming.  Lots of information about options, sizes, and building a new nipple (what?!)  My breasts were measured and photographed (which, I must say, was pretty creepy) and I learned about silicone vs. gel implants, expanders, and areola tattoos (again, what?!)  My doctor recommended an implant in the affected breast, accompanied by an augmentation and lift for the “healthy” breast, so I would have a matching set. Down the line, I could have nipple reconstruction (“an easy little procedure”, said my doc) and get my areola tattooed back on.  I was informed I would be numb in the affected breast.  For how long?  Forever.  So, for all those well meaning ladies who said things like “ooh, you’re so lucky, I’ve always wanted a boob job!”  and, “now you can go bigger!”, I say this is not the type of breast augmentation anyone should be envious of.  I went home with a lot to think about.  At my next appointment, I told the doctor that I actually didn’t want to be bigger, I just wanted to look like my old self.  He asked me  – several times – if I was sure about that.  Had no one ever said that to him before?  I said, yes, I was happy with my size and how I looked before.  He said, “we don’t carry implants that small, I’ll have to special order them for you.”  Ouch.  I also decided against the breast lift for the other side and said no thank you to the nipple reconstruction and tattoo.  Again, the doc was taken aback. I told him I was tired of all the poking, prodding, and painful procedures (nice alliteration, huh?) and just wanted to be left alone.  So, I ended up just having my “special order” implant put into the one breast and left it at that.  I’m happy with my decision and feel like I stayed true to myself.  I’m not knocking my sisters who choose to go bigger with their new “girls” – I think everyone should do whatever they feel comfortable doing.  So, while bigger might be better for some, I’m just fine with what is mine.

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